Thandi Modise wants court to discharge her from animal cruelty charges
Cape Town - The legal team representing National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise has brought an application to have Modise discharged from the animal cruelty charges.
Modise was back in the dock on Thursday at the Potchefstroom Regional Court.
AfriForum’s chief investigator, Andrew Leask, said the private prosecution, led by head of AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, advocate Gerrie Nel, closed its case upon which the defence brought an application to have Modise discharged in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act.
Leask said that the act means that the accused may be discharged at close of case for prosecution.
“If, at the close of the case for the prosecution at any trial, the court is of the opinion that there is no evidence that the accused committed the offence referred to in the charge or any offence of which he may be convicted on the charge, it may return a verdict of not guilty.”
He said the matter has now been postponed until today for the prosecution to argue in opposition to the application.
“The defence argue that the accused is not faced with any evidence that links her to the charges and that the court should now already find her not guilty and discharge her.”
The case stems after the NSPCA obtaining a warrant to inspect the animals on a farm in Modderfontein in the district of Tlokwe belonging to Modise in 2014.
A tip-off indicated that the animals on the property had been abandoned.
The NSPCA said Modise’s farm was littered with the carcasses of more than 50 pigs and other dead animals such as geese, ducks, sheep and goats.
The NSPCA had been forced to euthanise more than 224 animals at the farm when it visited there in July 2014.
Nel has been pursuing the private prosecution case on behalf of the NSPCA.
Modise, who faces six counts of contravening the Animal Protection Act, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
She is being represented by advocate Dali Mpofu.
On Wednesday Dr Sameer Abbas, a veterinarian, and a former employee at the farm gave detailed accounts on the events leading to the discovery of the animals.
Abbas, who was called out to the scene, concluded his evidence on Wednesday.
Tebogo Mokaedi, who had worked on the farm, had also given evidence about the state and condition of the farm before he left.
The case will continue on Friday.